Saturday, March 14, 2009


Click on the link in the title to this post to read a thoroughly charming Globe report by Brian Ballou on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's appearance at New England Boston Law School's centennial Law Day celebration. The justice gave a lovely talk and answered questions from a lottery-chosen group of students.

Ginsberg reveals that if she could have asked God for any talent, she would have asked to be an opera singer. She also speculates that the Court may soon be adding a new Justice.

Ginsburg said she has taken advice on how to deal with her recovery from former justice Sandra Day O'Connor, herself a cancer survivor, and has received support from her co-workers. She said Justice David H. Souter was so supportive that he filled in for her ailing husband, taking her to the opera.

"He never goes out, so people were amazed to see him," Ginsburg said of Souter.

A student then asked Ginsburg to name her favorite opinion, to which Ginsburg answered, "That's a little like asking me which of my four grandchildren I like best."

But she did highlight the importance of several ground-breaking cases, including the 1967 case striking down a Virginia statue [sic] that barred interracial marriage. "Now, the president of the United States is the child of an interracial marriage," she said.

She declined to answer how she would handle the same-sex marriage issue if it were to come before the high court, saying she did not want to be seen as prejudging the case.
Justice Ginsberg goes on to tell about graduating at the top of her class from Columbia Law School in 1959. Not a single law firm would give her a job.

In a separate article about a very different judge, the Boston Globe reported that Federal District Judge Reginald Lindsey died. Lindsey, who grew up in Jim Crow Alabama, went to Morehouse College and then Harvard Law School. He was recruited to Hill, Barlow, where eventually, he was a firm partner to now Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, from 1986 until Lindsey was nominated to the federal bench by President Clinton in 1993. From 1983, Lindsey was confined to a wheelchair because of a tumor on his spine, but continued to work steadily and long hours.

In the article,
Hilani Morales, a Northeastern University School of Law student who met Judge Lindsay in 2001 at a summer fellowship program at the courthouse for Boston high school students, said she and three other former fellows visited him at Youville [hospital in Cambridge] in early February. He was energetic and making jokes, she said, and expected to return to work in June.

"I feel like we've lost an amazing man, a friend, and family," said Morales, 25, who spoke at a gathering of about 150 grieving courthouse employees at a jury assembly room.

Morales said Judge Lindsay inspired her to overcome a difficult childhood in Dorchester that included placement in foster care. She said Judge Lindsay, who had no children, always referred to the dozen or so fellows each summer as "his kids," and said that the youngsters, many of them poor, were like bumblebees that defy the laws of physics by flying. "It always stayed with me," she said. "He was like a bumblebee. He defied all odds. He was an African-American, he lived with a disability, and yet he managed to overcome all obstacles."
Apparently, he loved being a judge.

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